Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

By Mark Strotman | | 5 mins

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Why Tacko Fall Is Getting More Betting Interest Than Zion Williamson

Why Tacko Fall Is Getting More Betting Interest Than Zion Williamson
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Zion Williamson was supposed to be the biggest attraction at the Las Vegas Summer League last month. The No. 1 overall pick and the most hyped prospect since LeBron James in 2003 had massive expectations, but he lasted just one half before suffering a bruised knee that, for precautionary reasons kept him out the rest of the tournament.

That left the door open for another prospect to attract crowds with his unique size and style of play. Celtics rookie Tacko Fall, a center who stands 7-foot-7 with a 10-foot-2 standing reach, did just that. He became the most talked-about story in Las Vegas, and it was easy to see why.

That hype rolled over to the offseason, and bettors apparently think Fall will be much more than just a gimmick. In fact, many believe he’ll be the NBA’s best rookie this upcoming season.

These bets are coming in despite the fact that Fall isn’t a lock to make the Celtics roster. They’ve already got Enes Kanter, Robert Williams III, and Daniel Theis at the center as they retool the position in the wake of Al Horford leaving in free agency for Philadelphia. Fall’s agent is confident his client will latch on with another team if the Celtics cut him. But Fall will need plenty of seasoning before he’s ready to compete at the NBA level, meaning he could spend a large portion of the season in the G-League. That, of course, would make it impossible for him to compete for Rookie of the Year. But the legend of Tacko is alive and well and bettors are on board.

Why Zion Williamson ROY Isn’t A Lock

But betting, of course, is all about maximizing potential earning. Fall is an extreme longshot – he doesn’t even have odds listed on 888Sport or PointsBet – while Williamson’s preseason Rookie of the Year odds are as short as any player’s since Kevin Durant in 2007.

Williamson is -155 to take home honors as the league’s best rookie this upcoming season. But the favorites haven’t always fared well in their rookie season. In fact, since Durant in 2008, the favorite has failed to take home Rookie of the Year honors 10 of the last 11 seasons. (Per SportsOddsHistory.com)

NBA Rookie of the Year Preseason Odds Per Year

Year PlayerOdds Outcome
2019Luka Doncic+250Yes
2018Lonzo Ball+205No
2017Joel Embiid+300No
2016Emmanuel Mudiay+300No
2015Jabari Parker+225No
2014Victor Oladipo+300No
2013Anthony Davis+175No
2012Derrick Williams+350No
2011John Wall+120No
2010Blake Griffin+120No
2009Michael Beasley+150No
2008Kevin Durant-200Yes
2007Brandon Roy+300Yes

Williamson is incredibly talented. He’s the favorite for a good reason and is surrounded by a talented group of young players. He’ll also play on national TV 30 times for the Pelicans, an incredibly high number for a rebuilding team. But he doesn’t provide all that much value at -155, and favorites for Rookie of the Year rarely wind up winning the award. Granted, Williamson is on a different level than all the above rookies, but there’s better value on the board.

Better Bets for Rookie of the Year

Ten of the last 14 Rookie of the Year winners have been point guards and all but one of those players averaged 30 minutes or more per game. That’s why Memphis point guard Ja Morant finds himself in a perfect situation. With Mike Conley in Utah, Morant will get all he can handle for the rebuilding Grizzlies and he has a good core around him in Jaren Jackson and Brandon Clarke to rack up numbers. He’s great value at +375 to win Rookie of the Year. Point guards tend to get the nod for this award.


RELATED: Why Ja Morant's Rookie of the Year Odds Rose After NBA Draft


The 2019 rookie class voted Cam Reddish – not Williamson – to have the most successful NBA career. The No. 10 pick is entering a great situation in Atlanta, joining a Hawks team with one of the best young cores in basketball. He struggled at Duke but his game could flourish in a more wide-open NBA setting. He’s worth the risk at +3000, especially with plenty of minutes available on the wing in Atlanta.